Here we go again, the first post of the year up on the website. We are going to start up with something that i consider to be the biggest thing to happen in years. This of course is the acquisition of Quixel by Epic. This means that now everyone can be using it inside UE4 for FREE of charge. Now in case you don’t know what exactly is Megascans, it’s a library of photoscanned materials. This huge 11,000+ library will be useful for any project that you might want to undertake, being it an interior or exterior.
Where do i Start ?
Even though it’s a pretty straight forward process, there are a few technical snafus to get around. In the video we will start from the basics of how to create an account, how to download and link your Bridge to UE4. We will also see how we can control the different parameters inside UE4. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words but a video a million. So instead of explaining about it you can check it out in the video below.
So if you’ve watched the video you get the idea of just how powerful this is, and how it can help you in your projects.
Having said all that, i would like to say Happy Holidays to everyone that is reading this during the Holidays. But if you happen to be reading this later on, then have a happy day and keep on learning.
The idea for this post came from a simple need. That is the need to have a high quality, low poly foliage model. Main reason for this is that if we go in an import raw assets the poly count goes way up. Coming from a 3ds Max background, when needing to create grass and foliage i would use Forest Pack Pro. The main difference is that in Max you are rendering still image so having many instances is not an issue. Well the answer on how to get that quality into Real Time is what drove the idea for this post.
Creating the Low Poly model
When creating a low poly model, or any model for that matter Reference is king. This means that you always want to have an image of what you are creating at hand. We will try to create a fern model like the one above.
Creating something like that means that we will need a texture to start from. In general you can either take the pictures on your own, and prepare the textures. Or you can go over on Google and search for a texture with an Alpha map. Or alternative route would be to go to a site that sells textures like that. In my case i chose a texture from Megascans as those textures are high quality 4k images. You will see me set up the textures, then individually cut out all the leaves. After this i will show you how to get a controlling points with the help of bend modifiers. And in the end we will even see how to add vertex color. The vertex color will later be used in UE4 for simulating wind. Knowing all this check out the video below to see how i did it.
Creating the UE4 Material
After creating the asset in 3ds Max we will jump over to UE4. Generally creating a material if you have all the nodes is a pretty easy procedure. You take all the nodes and plug them into the material and you’re done. You will see me create a system for the Vertex Color that will control the wind. Another thing that i will show you is how to increase the normal map strength. And we will also see how to control the diffuse strength with the help of scalar parameters. Even though it’s not that complex, some of the tricks there are pretty cool so check them out.
Creating this post i have to admit was fun for me. Main reason is that i did a bit of research as well so i picked up some skills. I would like to say one thing to everyone out there, don’t be scared of trying new stuff. I have received multiple messages of people telling me that UE4 looks too complex. Well honestly, it’s really not that complex as long as you approach it with an open mind. Another driving force should be the fact that UE4 is going to be the main tool for Archviz. Maybe this will take some time but it will get there. So with this post i showed you the basics of creating foliage so you can use it in your scenes. I’ll see that in the future i make more videos about modeling, and then using those models inside UE4.
Until then though, everyone stay safe and keep on learning.
First of all, this is going to be a rather long post split into six parts. The reason for the lengthy size is that we will take a look at the whole workflow. This workflow means starting in 3ds Max and ending with our model inside Unreal Engine 4. Alright then lets start !
Modeling the Custom Chair
The first thing that we need to create is going to be the HP ( high poly ) model. This is a given if we want to have a good quality model when we later bring it into UE4. For this case i decided to go with a custom chair. If you read the FB group you will know that i kinda messed up with a NDA issue. This meant that i had to rerecord everything from scratch. So to make it safe i decided to go with something that doesn’t exist. The modeling of the said chair will show you how to use couple of different techniques. These techniques are like box modeling, modifier stacking, cloth simulation and a few others. Anyways you can see all of this in the video below so go check it out.
Creating the Low Poly
The second video will cover the creation of the LP ( Low Poly ) model. In the past i have created a few videos that were about retopology. Well this time around it was more of a simplification rather then retopology. This is because when you have a HP model that was created with proper box modeling it’s faster and easier. In the video below you can check out the whole creation of the LP model.
This is where it starts getting interesting. A lot of people for some reason find this complicated and hard. For this phase i wanted to show you two ways for UVW Unwrapping. In the first video i decided to go ahead and do the UVW Unwrapping inside 3ds Max. You can see how i did it in the video below.
Now if you watched the video above you heard me saying that i hate doing unwrapping in 3ds max. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s simply tedious if you ask me. This is why i decided to throw in a bonus video about Unfold3D. This is a piece of software that is used only for one thing, and that is UVW unwrapping. So if you want to see how that worked out, check out the video below.
Texturing the chair with Substance Painter
For the texturing phase i decided to go with Substance Painter. If you have never seen or used Substance Painter you are missing out. It’s an amazing software that makes texturing assets an easy task. Since i haven’t made any prior videos with the software i will stick to the basics. This means we will use already existing materials that come with the Substance Painter. So if you want to see how i did it, check out the video below.
Exporting the model to Unreal Engine 4
In the last part of the mini series we will see how to get the model to Unreal Engine 4. We will also see how we can prepare the model so we have no issues with the transformations. How to prepare the model for use of multiple materials in UE4. How to compile the materials so we can use the textures from Substance Painter. In short all the things that you have to do to your model to get it working inside Unreal. Again, if you want to see that check the video below.
Is that all ?
Well with this we covered the whole process of preparing an asset to go from Max to UE4. If you followed the videos you will have an idea of the steps you need to do. So i do hope you guys found this entertaining and educational. You guys learned the workflow, and i learned the importance of an NDA 🙂
In any case, if you liked the post like and comment on the videos and help spread the word around.
In the first video we are going to take a look at the process of blocking out the scene. This is rather helpful when you are starting out a scene and don’t really know how everything will fit together. For this we will be using the basic Geometry, as well as the BSP Brushes. More importantly we will see the difference between both of them, and when to use them. We’ll get to see how to change the viewports, as well as use operations equal to boolean in Max. As an added bonus we will take a look at stacking multiple assets together and moving them around. And at the end we will see touch a bit on basic lighting before finishing the video. So all in all an interesting topic, and if you agree check the video below.
Materials in Unreal Engine 4
First of all i want to note that materials in UE4 is actually a pretty big topic. There after saying that, what you will see in the following two videos here will be the sheer basics. When creating these videos i had the average 3ds Max user in mind. I tried to make a comparison between Max and UE4, and explain how both of them can be similar. Now the very first thing that you should know is that UE4 uses PBR Material workflow. This means that opposed to the workflow we use in VRay the maps for UE4 will be a bit different. I didn’t want to make a whole video about PBR materials as there already is a solid number of those. So if you have checked out anything in the past you will know the basic differences. So for now back to the videos at hand.
In the first video about the materials in UE4 we will see how to create a material. After this how we can change the color, monochrome or RGB. We will see what are constants and how to create a simple material. We will see why it’s important to save your material, and what does the save actually do. On top of this we will see how to add textures and how to link them to the material. So if this is something that you are interested in check the video below.
In the second video we will continue where we ended in the first one. In this one we will take a look at material instancing and what is the advantage of using it. We will see how Converting a node to Parameter will affect the Material Instance. Also, see why we should convert to parameter, and which nodes to convert. We will go over how to create a interchangeable texture node, and how to control tiling. At the end we will briefly go over the different material modes and blending modes. So if you want to see how this was done check the video below.
With all of the things mentioned here we have to bare basics covered. My idea here was to do a few videos that will be an intro for things to come. And with this covered i have the door opened for more interesting videos. Anyways that would be all for today, and if you enjoyed the videos leave a comment and a like. And like always i’ll see you all in the next one.
After a rather long break here we are again with another tutorial. This time around we are kicking it off with a new topic to the channel, namely Unreal Engine.
Why Unreal Engine ?
The answer to this question would be simply because it’s the best. But before i continue let me explain why i think Unreal is the best. As things are progressing in the visualization business everything is pushing more towards real time. With this in mind we have VRay RT, Octane, iRay, FStorm and a bunch of other render engines. The issue here is that these renders are great for quick preview of the work, not really for walkthrough. So when you want a solution for free walkthrough and VR that is when you look at game engines. Here we have some choices where the biggest ones are Unreal, Unity and Cryengine. I’ve seen people make amazing work in all three game engines. When it comes to Archviz Unreal Engine seems to be the leading one in the field.
Ok Unreal Engine it is, how do I start ?
Well this is where it gets interesting. Seeing as how Unreal Engine has been years in development, it has a pretty good support and forums section. This means that for anything that you get stuck on there will be a solution on the forums. I will try to cover the basics that you will need in order to transition to working with Unreal Engine. In today’s videos i will go over the sheer basics of the matter.
The first video will cover how you can download, install and register for Unreal Engine. As an added bonus you will understand how you can use some of the features of the Epic Games launcher. And even if you have used UE4 before check out the Unreal Tournament portion of the video.
After that brief video about the installation of the Launcher, in the second video we go over the basics. You will learn about the UI basics, and how to move around in Unreal Engine. You will also get an explanation of the menus and options. All in all these two videos should help you get UE4 installed and prepared for use.
So what to expect in the future?
As i said in the Facebook group, for those of you that read it. I would like a make a few more videos about the basic concepts of working with UE4. So in the future all the modeling videos i do, i can make a transition video. This means take the high poly model, do the retopology, unwrapping, baking, texturing and combine it all in UE4. By doing that you will see the whole process from start to finish.
One more thing that i would like to add, and this is something that i’m glad about. With the introduction of Game Engines to Interior Designers and 3D artists you will basically expand your career choices. Namely if you have been doing Archviz for a while and have the experience, then you can translate as an environment artist.
So for now that would be it for this post. If you liked what you saw here leave a like, comment or share the post so it can reach more people. That all for today and i’ll see you all in the next post.